Cambridge win Women's Boat Race after dominating Oxford on River Thames

Cambridge powered to victory in the 72nd edition of the Women's Boat Race after their rivals go off to a dreadful start on the River Thames.

The Oxford crew could not have had a worse start, unbalancing and appearing to dip their oars far too deep into the rushing tide, tipping alarmingly to one side as they did so.

Cambridge, who were the pre-race favourites, made the most of the opportunity and surged ahead into an unassailable lead.

By the first mile marker they had opened up a lead of 10 seconds and were left to race only against themselves and the clock, winning in a record time that was faster than their men's team last year.

Cambridge won the Women's Boat Race in dominant fashion. Credit: PA

For Ashton Brown, president of the Cambridge women's team, it was the perfect antidote to last year when she caught pneumonia after the team's boat was swamped.

Speaking after the race, she said: "I'm just so proud of my squad, so proud of the team this year.

"We got to have the race we wanted to have. Last year we felt a bit robbed because we didn't get to race. This year I have just had an amazing team with me and we did it right to the end."

Cambridge women's crew celebrate with the trophy on the podium. Credit: PA

For the Oxford team the astonishing manner of their defeat was even harder to stomach after the crew came through injury and illness to reach the start line.

Members of the dark blue team were in tears after crossing the finish, consoling each other over their loss.

Oxford captain Harriet Austin said she was proud of the way her team recovered from their start.

She said: "The start didn't go as we'd planned but I think we got it together really well and I am really proud of the girls and the effort we put in.

"It was a good race but today was Cambridge's day."

Oxford suffered a poor start in the women's event. Credit: PA

Oxford's fortunes however were reversed an hour later, after their men's team beat Cambridge convincingly in the event's 163rd edition.

The annual event was under threat after an unexploded Second World War bomb was found near the starting line on Saturday.

But police confirmed on Sunday that it would go ahead as planned, after the submerged bomb was safely removed by specialist officers.

Spectators on the riverbank close to Chiswick Bridge. Credit: PA